KEEPERS OF THE SACRED MOUNTAIN
Mount Niyam Dongar, in the hills of Niyamgiri, is the sacred place of the Dongria Kondh people, a tribe living in the Indian state of Orissa. But this mountain is also a huge deposit of bauxite ore: here, the British mining company Vedanta has planned since several years to open a giant mine that would put in extreme danger the life of this tribe and destroy their land. That’s way the tribe people and their supporters, local population and international ONGs, have fighted with clashes, gatherings, demonstrations on the streets and with their lawyers on the Indian Supreme Court against this project since 2005.
Meanwhile, Vedanta through its Indian subsidiary Sterlite has built up, without any official permission or prior studies of environmental and social impact on the area, a large and extremely polluting aluminum refinery, just in front of Niyam Dongar mountain, in the town of Lanjigarh. The plant started the production importing bauxite ore from other mines of India, to be ready as soon as possible for the exploitation of the rich nearby mine. But the strong opposition of the tribe has post-poned the completion of the entire project: in this moment the issue has returned to India’s Supreme Court and the case is currently adjourned.